What is Acceset and what is the volunteering project about?
Acceset is an anonymous letter writing platform for students and it facilitates anonymous disclosure of personal problems that friends and family may not be able to relate to. The volunteering project that Acceset hopes to launch is one where we hope to partner role models in society and like-minded youth and working adults who wish to be trained and to be part of a caring anonymous community to support students who may be suffering in silence and do not have an avenue to voice out their problems and to seek the right support for their well-being.
What will be the volunteers’ involvement in this project?
By joining this project, the volunteers will be trained to reply to anonymous letters from seekers on acceset.com. In addition, we hope that the volunteers will broadcast their involvement in the project on their social media pages so as to help raise awareness of this mental health initiative among their community.
What is the commitment level like for volunteers?
The volunteers will have to go through a 3-hour training to be equipped with the skills to reply to the letters. After which they will be given an account which they can decide on how many letter threads they are comfortable handling at any one time, ranging from 0 to 5. The commitment level will be flexible based on the volunteer’s availability of replying to the letters. If at any point of time the volunteer chooses to stop volunteering, their existing conversations with seekers will be taken over by another befriender or moderator, depending on the role of the volunteer.
Do the volunteers have to be well-versed in mental health care to volunteer?
No, they don’t have to be. Acceset wiltl be providing the necessary training which provides the foundation grasp of trauma-informed care as well as a simulation to address the kind of letters that may come in. A letter thread will be supported by 2 volunteers (befriender & moderator) at the same time to ensure the quality of responses to our seekers. We recommend volunteers between age 17 and 35 to be trained as a befriender and for moderators to be aged 35 and above (unless they are members of the helping profession with the relevant certifications).
Training will be provided for both befrienders (whose main responsibility is relating and drafting letter responses) and moderators (whose main role is safeguarding the safety of befriender and of the response and looking out for potential danger based on the seekers response). In addition, there are resource guides in the volunteers’ account which volunteers can refer to as they go about replying to their seekers.
Why do volunteers have to be kept anonymous when replying to letters?
In Acceset, we believe that anonymity allows users to write in or reply to letters more at ease, without having to worry about judgement or identity. By staying anonymous, volunteers are given an equal opportunity to contribute and it also gives privacy to their identity.
What makes volunteering with Acceset a potentially rewarding experience?
Acceset offers the opportunity for people to pen down their troubles anonymously through the written word. These are often personal problems that are not given due importance or attention.
By volunteering with Acceset and taking time out of your busy schedule to pen a reply, it would matter a lot to those whom we help. They will know that they are not alone, and it is not true that no one cares about their problems. While volunteering with Acceset entails a bigger time commitment compared to mental health advocacy, it is also an opportunity to volunteer one’s skills, be a role model to society, and be part of an active community that cares about the well-being of students who are most in need of help.
Addressing potential concerns
How will Acceset manage the well-being of volunteers?
The well-being of the volunteer community is of utmost importance to Acceset. There could be many reasons that could result in a volunteer feeling uncomfortable. In view of that, we ensure in our design that there is always a pair (one befriender and one moderator) supporting the seeker, for the purpose that the volunteers can offer mutual support. Also, all volunteers have the option to discontinue with any conversation at any point, and another volunteer in a similar role and capacity will take over to support the seeker.
In the event that any volunteer experiences discomfort, there is also the option to seek counselling support from the directory listed in the resource panel of the volunteer’s account.
What happens when volunteers receive risky letters like a potentially suicidal seeker?
Our risk management system is in place to protect both the befriender and the seeker. Our ‘Risk Report’ feature allows volunteers to report any risk behaviour displayed by the seeker. Types of risk behaviour will be taught to them during the training. Thus, they will be given support for letters that have potential risk.
When a befriender highlights a risk, the moderator in the same case will be required to confirm that the risk is correctly identified. Moderators can also be able to initiate a risk report in the event the risk is overlooked by the befriender. Once a risk report is initiated or confirmed by the moderator, both the befriender and moderator will not have further correspondence with the seeker. The case will be transferred to a professional counsellor who will attend to the user.
How do I sign up as a volunteer or find out more information?
Do drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for us to follow up on your enquiry